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How you can get rid of your student loan debt

Student loan debt is holding many people back from achieving their goals here in Waco - goals like buying a home, starting a family and taking vacations. Unfortunately, for many people in Texas, the skyrocketing costs of post-secondary education combined with the ease of taking out student loans and a tough job market have resulted in a perfect storm. 

Many people graduate from college today not free to chase their dreams, but chained to an overwhelming amount of debt. Student loan debt, unlike most types of debt, generally cannot even be discharged in bankruptcy. So, what is someone to do when they can no longer make ends meet because they are drowning in student loan debt?

There are a couple of options. First, it may be wise to check out the various repayment plans that the U.S. Department of Education has made available. There are a few different income-based plans that can help borrowers reduce their monthly payments.

Many people in Texas may also be able to take advantage of a federal program that forgives the student loan debt of those who enter public service jobs. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program has actually been around since 2007, but many people are unaware of it.

The program allows people who have high student loan balances, in comparison to their income, to have their loans canceled if they work in non-profit or government jobs for 10 years.

There are some restrictions, however, including that only federal direct loans are forgivable.

When the options above are not suitable, student loan debtors may be wise to talk to a bankruptcy attorney. In some extreme cases, student loan debt can be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In other cases, even when student loan debt cannot be discharged, bankruptcy may still be a good option. Bankruptcy can wipe out a filer's other debts, leaving him or her with the disposable income to afford student loan payments.

Source: New York Times, "Relief from Student Loan Debt for Public Service Workers," Ann Carrns, Sept. 10, 2013

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